Monte Vista is a small town with a long history and spectacular views. Although situated in the mountains, Monte Vista is not only close to ski resorts, but to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Highland or flatland, sand or peak, Monte Vista is uniquely near a bit of everything.
The Alamosa-Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuges shelter large populations of elk and cranes. Monte Vista is, in fact, famous for its sandhill cranes. If you visit in early spring, you may be treated to the sight of a thousands and thousands-strong flock darkening the skies with their wings.
Those are the mountains of Monte Vista. The deep-snow Wolf Creek Ski Area is also within the mountains of Monte Vista, as is the pristine lake of San Luis State Park. The Rio Grande flows practically beside Monte Vista. The steepness of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains surround low valleys, though, and border those Great Sand Dunes.
Cranes, peaks and sand have their presence in Monte Vista, but so do history and culture. Nearby Creede was a mining center and today preserves its past in fascinating museums. Fort Garland, a century and a half old, is also nearby and the historical corridor of the Rio Grande could hardly be closer. The Ski Hi Stampede, oldest professional rodeo in Colorado, is perhaps the best-known and most engaging of Monte Vista's history and culture ? cowboys living in the present and wrangling bulls just as heartily as they did decades ago.
Monte Vista is 50 miles east of Great Sand Dunes National Park, 72 miles northeast of Pagosa Springs and 80 miles south of Salida.